Customer retention strategies are important for any dealership, so if you are having trouble retaining customers long term, it’s imperative you work on improving your strategy. As mentioned in a previous article, some economists warn that we could be headed for a recession, and that customer retention may be one of the keys to a BHPH dealership’s survival. However, trends indicate that customer retention has become more vital for business success regardless of what the economy does in the future. In fact, according the Small Business Administration, customer retention strategies are among several vital factors to any company’s success. Here are some tips for maintaining your customers for the long run as well as creating repeat business.
Of course, one key to building a good customer retention strategy is to begin at the beginning by making a great first impression. It’s always easier to keep customer who has positive experiences with your dealership from day one. The best way to do this is by connecting on social media. If your team already has a rapport with customers before they ever set foot on your lot, you can better ensure a comfortable, stress-free experience. Speak to a digital marketing firm, such as our partners at Magnum Contact Marketing, about using Facebook ads to target consumers who have already visited your web page or researched BHPH dealerships in your area. Engagement is key, so it’s important to make sure the digital marketing firm you choose has social media specialists who can provide interesting content as well.
What about consumers who are already familiar with your dealership? When it comes to customer retention strategies for existing leads, one of the best things you can do to build long term relationships with customers is to make the process personal. The goal is to speak directly to each customer in ways that relate to them. To do this, make sure your sales team understands how to personalize their pitch and focus on what matters to different customers in different situations. Encourage your sales team to be ready with various examples of how your dealership can be of value to different customers and increase their quality of living overall. They should have different points of discussion ready for customers with bad credit, no credit, families, college classes, military careers, professional jobs, etc. When overcoming objections and selling cars, focus on what matters most to each potential buyer, and illustrate how purchasing a vehicle from your BHPH dealership can benefit them personally. Basically, your sales team needs to prioritize customer service as high as they would closing the deal.
Simply selling a vehicle isn’t enough to ensure long term engagement. Customer retention strategies rely heavily upon keeping in contact, as well as selling future services such as repairs and vehicle upgrades. Don’t forget that car buyers need a reason to continue interacting with you! This may mean changing your sales team’s focus to include building customer relationships as well as making the sale. Discourage the attitude that once the papers are signed and the car is driven off the lot, that the relationship with the customer is over. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is vital for continuing to communicate with customers after the sale by reminding them of maintenance, asking how they’re enjoying their vehicle, inviting them to consider upgrading to a newer model used car, or even wishing them a happy birthday. These ongoing moments of personal interaction are vital in successful customer retention strategies, and having a CRM can help your team keep track of contact information, dates, etc. If nothing else, this continued contact means that when a customer is ready to by their next vehicle, your dealership will spring to mind. Take a look at the BHPH Marketplace Directory to see some CRM companies we recommend.
No matter how good your dealership’s customer service is, you will occasionally have an unhappy customer. Having strong customer retention strategies in place can help maintain these customers by addressing concerns and issues when they occur. One important step is pay attention to negative reviews, respond to them, and find out how your team can fix the problems unhappy customers have faced. If a potential customer buys elsewhere, it’s also important to gather information about what drove their decision, and use that information to identify any changes that need to be made. Train you team to ask customers about their choice to buy elsewhere, letting them know that your dealership is always looking for ways to become even better and you welcome their feedback. If customers feel that you legitimately care about their experiences and opinions, they will be more likely to consider buying from you next time they are in the market.
By using these methods, dealerships can go beyond making one-time sales with customers to creating relationships that will last long term. If you continue to keep the majority of the customers you have while also attracting new customers, your business cannot help but grow – which of course should be the goal.